covid-19

COVID-19 spreads most easily when people are in close proximity. But for more than 26,000 inmates housed in Indiana's prisons, close proximity to other people is a part of life. State officials say they're working to prevent the virus from spreading in prisons, but those inside say it isn’t happening. 

Darian Benson, Side Effects Public Media

African-Americans across the country are dying from the new coronavirus at a much higher rate than whites. Experts have a lot of explanations, but they also say more data is needed. In Indianapolis, a new no-cost testing program hopes to increase COVID-19 testing in African-American communities.

CDC

Para darle contenido significativo a sus videntes en el reportaje, por favor compare el número actual de muertes por el COVID-19 con el número promedio de muertes por la gripe en los Estados Unidos en la última década.

Justin Hicks, Indiana Public Broadcasting

This story was updated at 3:45 p.m. on April 30, 2020 to include new information on Edwards' release date.

On the day Scottie Edwards died, he nearly fell over on the way to the bathroom. A pair of fellow inmates at the Westville Correctional Facility propped him up and got him to sit down on a toilet. 

“He had been sick for about a week and a half,” says one inmate named Josh in a recorded call. He asked to be identified by his first name, because he fears retaliation from prison staff. 

Grinnell Regional Medical Center

This is part of Essential Voices, a series of interviews with people confronting COVID-19.

Hospitals across the Midwest have adjusted policies for the coronavirus crisis -- including limiting patient visitors. That can be especially hard when a patient is near death, and friends and relatives want to share a final goodbye. Dr. Lauren Graham speaks about those emotional moments at Grinnell Regional Medical Center in Iowa.

Photo by National Cancer Institute on Unsplash.

The coronavirus pandemic has forced hospitals and doctors to move much of their work online. That shift to telehealth required big changes -- from relaxing federal regulations to getting buy-in from doctors. Now the question is whether it can sustain the momentum built amid "stay-home" orders.

Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections

Prisoners can be heard coughing on calls coming out of Marion Correctional Institution, a minimum- and medium-security facility an hour north of Columbus, Ohio.

And mass testing recently revealed more than 80% of prisoners has contracted COVID-19, making Marion the nation's largest known COVID-19 hotspot.

Update: As the case count continues to rise, information on this story is moving quickly and may be out-of-date. We recommend checking the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for ways to stay safe and this John Hopkins tool for the most recent data

States are considering how, and when, to reopen their economies. But the process looks different across the country, and there's a considerable variety even in the Midwest. Side Effects Public Media’s Brittani Howell spoke with Indiana Public Broadcasting’s statehouse reporter Brandon Smith, KBIA health reporter Sebastián Martínez Valdivia and Iowa Public Radio health reporter Natalie Krebs about how their states have reacted so far, and what they might do going forward.

Michael Leland / Side Effects Public Media

Many of America’s rural counties have just a handful of COVID-19 cases. And health experts say that may be giving residents a false sense of security. Now, outbreaks at food processing plants could shake that complacency.

Jim Meadows/Illinois Newsroom

This is part of Essential Voices, a series of interviews with people confronting COVID-19.

Since the start of the COVID-19 outbreak, local public health agencies across the nation have been working to mitigate the spread of the disease -- and to overcome some big obstacles.

Photo contributed by Alfarena McGinty.

This story is part of Essential Voices, a series of interviews with people confronting COVID-19.

Alfarena McGinty is the chief deputy coroner for Marion County, which oversees metropolitan Indianapolis -- which has had the largest outbreak of the new coronavirus in the state. She spoke with Side Effects reporter Carter Barrett about what it’s been like on the front lines of the county’s morgue, tough choices during this crisis, and how the pandemic reached personal life too. 

Arianna Thompson of South Bend, Indiana, is pregnant with her first child, a girl she's naming Heaven Noelle.
Courtesy of Arianna Thompson

Arianna Thompson had big plans for her pregnancy. A photoshoot. Two baby showers – one in South Bend, Indiana, where she lives, and one with family in Chicago. 

Everything has been cancelled. 

Pixabay

We're continuing to answer questions about the novel coronavirus and COVID-19. If you have a question, email health@wfyi.org, text “health” to 73224 or leave a voicemail at 317-429-0080.

Missouri Highlands Healthcare

If someone gets sick in a seven county swath of the Ozarks of southeastern Missouri, the closest place they can go for care is a clinic run by Missouri Highlands Health Care. Highlands operates in some of the least populated and poorest counties in the state. Now, it’s cutting back.

Courtesy of Brittanny Budimir

This is part of Essential Voices, a series of interviews with people confronting COVID-19.

Health care workers and first responders face serious risks dealing with people who have COVID-19. Bryce and Brittanny Budimir, a married couple in Kankakee, Illinois, both work on the front lines of the pandemic. 

Justin Hicks

During Monday’s coronavirus news conference, Gov. Eric Holcomb was optimistic about the situation statewide. He emphasized Indiana’s COVID-19 data. 

“I believe that Indiana is, quite frankly, faring better than some other locales around the world,” he said. “We’ll continue to be very transparent about those numbers.”

Courtesy of David Vega

This is part of Essential Voices, a series of interviews with people confronting COVID-19.

David Vega is a fourth year-medical student at the Indiana University School of Medicine. Earlier this year, he was in Africa for one of his courses. He had heard about the coronavirus spreading in China, but didn’t think much of it.

He returned to the U.S. in early March, stopped in Florida to visit family and friends, and then came back to Indiana. He told Side Effects that his symptoms started a couple days later.

Justin Hicks/Indiana Public Broadcasting.

Behind a nondescript strip mall in Carmel, Indiana, a short line of cars gathers mid-afternoon next to a large tent. Medical professionals stand out front, dressed head to toe in blue medical gear. People in the cars -- many of them first responders -- drive up to get checked for COVID-19. 

New Doctors Prepare For Residency Amid COVID-19 Crisis

Apr 10, 2020
Courtesy of Lauren Grant

For fourth-year medical students, spring is normally the time for an important rite of passage. They finish  classes and find out where they’ll spend the next several years doing their residencies.

The coronavirus pandemic has turned all that upside down.

WFIU/WTIU

This post was updated at 1:05 pm on 4/13/20 to include new infections reported by the state. 

On Monday, April 6, an inmate at Indiana’s Plainfield Correctional Facility stayed up late. From his bunk, he composed two messages. In the first, he told his son that he loves him, that he’s proud of him. 

In the second message, he told his wife he was scared. “I can tell you right now, with nearly 100% certainty, that I am going to get this virus,” he wrote. The man’s wife says he suffers from lung disease, which could increase the chances of complications from COVID-19. 

You Asked: Why Is COVID-19 Hitting African-Americans So Hard?

Apr 10, 2020
Photo by Justin Hicks/Indiana Public Broadcasting.

Update: As the case count continues to rise, information on this story is moving quickly and may be out-of-date. We recommend checking the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for ways to stay safe and this John Hopkins tool for the most recent data

Indiana Public Broadcasting’s digital producer Lauren Chapman and reporter Justin Hicks recently joined Side Effects Public Media’s Brittani Howell on Facebook Live to answer questions we’ve received about the new coronavirus and COVID-19.  

Lindsey Reed / Oaknoll Retirement Residence

The elderly are especially vulnerable to COVID-19. The country’s first big outbreak was at a nursing home in Washington state, and more recently nursing homes and senior living facilities in places like Indiana, Illinois and Iowa have had experienced dozens of cases -- and deaths. Now, these places are facing a lot of pressure to keep residents safe -- and occupied. 

WFIU/WTIU

Updated 04/08/2020 at 5:24 pm.

On Wednesday, Indiana's Joint Information Center confirmed to Side Effects that 10 prisoners in state Department of Correction facilities have now tested positive for COVID-19, along with 20 agency employees. 

Stickers on the floor of a Kroger in Bloomington, Indiana, show how far apart customers should stand in checkout lines.
Lauren Bavis/Side Effects Public Media

These days, a familiar place – the grocery store – looks very different. They remain open as essential businesses, even as other stores close. But they’re making accommodations to keep the new coronavirus from spreading. 

Update: As the case count continues to rise, information on this story is moving quickly and may be out-of-date. We recommend checking the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for ways to stay safe and this John Hopkins tool for the most recent data

In order to give your viewers a meaningful context in your reporting, please compare the current number of deaths from the COVID-19 virus with the average number of deaths due to the flu in the U.S. over the last decade.

The new coronavirus is still sweeping through the U.S., so it's difficult to draw comparisons to past flu seasons. Looking at the flu and coronavirus in other countries may be helpful. 

Pages